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St. Andrews is one of London's finest Victorian churches, containing some of the finest sculpture and craftsmanship of the nineteenth century. Its own history is quite unique, and symbolizes the very essence of the Christian religion: death and re-birth.
St. Andrews was originally built in the heart of the West End, in the middle of the nineteenth century (in Wells Street near the present-day busy shopping area of Oxford Street). It was consecrated on the 2nd February, 1847, and soon became one of London's best known and fashionable churches, famous for its fine architecture and sculptures and items of craftsmanship. The services at St. Andrews were noted for their outstanding music - finer it was said than at many English cathedrals. The congregation included many of the leading figures of the day. The Prime Minister, William Gladstone, was an occasional worshipper. However by the turn of the century the area around St. Andrews had changed dramatically. Houses had given way to warehouses and commercial property. The congregation had fallen away and the church was declared redundant. It closed its doors in the West End on Easter Sunday 1931.
The Church looked set to be demolished but there was an outcry at the idea of destroying such a beautiful building containing so many items of outstanding craftsmanship. Surely it could be put to some use? Other suburbs needed churches to serve their growing populations. A proposal was made to move St. Andrews from the West End to the fast growing area of Wembley and Kingsbury, served by the new Metropolitan Line.
St. Andrews was demolished stone by stone - each piece carefully labelled and numbered and transported the ten miles to southern Kingsbury which urgently needed a bigger church. The rebuild took three years - a project dubbed by one newspaper "the biggest jigsaw in the world". Finally St. Andrews was reborn and reconsecrated on October 13th, 1934 by Arthur Foley Winnington Ingram, Bishop of London from 1901-39.
The church was designed by Dawkes and contains work by some of the top sculptors and craftsmen of the day. It is mentioned in Nicholas Pevsner's noted series The Buildings of England.